Alex Tagliani to replace injured Dario Franchitti at IndyCar finale

USA TODAY Sports

Alex Tagliani will drive the Target Chip Ganassi Racing No. 10 at Auto Club Speedway next weekend for the injured Dario Franchitti.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing announced on Wednesday that Alex Tagliani will replace the injured Dario Franchitti next weekend in the IndyCar Series at Auto Club Speedway.

Franchitti was sidelined as a result of a last lap crash that marred the ending of Sunday's second race of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston. The accident also injured 13 spectators and an IndyCar official.

Tagliani was the most experienced IndyCar driver available, having went separate ways from Barracuda Racing following the doubleheader at Toronto in August. Tagliani has 200 career starts between the Champ Car World Series and the IndyCar Series. He has won win and seven poles, including the 2011 Indianapolis 500.

"As a driver you never want an opportunity like this to come under these circumstances, but I'm up for the challenge and looking forward to working with my friend Scott and the whole Target team," Tagliani said. "I'm thinking of Dario as everyone else is, and wishing him a quick recovery.

"This team has a championship on the line and I'm ready to step in a help them win it."

His teammate for the weekend -- Scott Dixon -- leads Helio Castroneves by 25 points entering the race at Fontana which will play out on Oct. 19.

"Obviously the situation is not ideal with Dario being unable to compete in Fontana," said team owner Chip Ganassi. "As we look to the season finale we needed a driver with experience and the ability to step in and get the job done in the No. 10 car, and Alex was a logical choice for us."

It's also a huge opportunity for Tagliani who is hoping to remain in the IndyCar Series next season. He has yet to find a ride for 2014 and has been looking at perhaps expanding his role in the new United SportsCar Championship which will debut next season.

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